Following election, let us move forward together

Nov. 7, 2020

OSU Community Members, 

After days of uncertainty following Tuesday’s Presidential election, the nation – and each of us as educators, students and community members – must move forward to achieve a better future now that the outcome of voting has been projected. 

I ask that each of us contribute to a vitally needed era of care, courtesy, collaboration, listening and understanding, regardless of who you favored for president or any other office. 

The knowledge, skills and collective ability of OSU faculty, staff, students and stakeholders are needed now more than ever before to address a world facing daunting global challenges. 

The virus that causes COVID-19 is surging and putting each of us at risk. We must eradicate racism and provide equity, safety, opportunity and inclusion for all people of color. We must welcome and appreciate the value that international students and faculty bring to America and OSU – a university that is committed to global engagement and progress. We must halt and begin to reverse worsening climate change. The U.S. economy must no longer leave behind growing numbers of people economically and educationally. Educational opportunity and success must be provided all learners without a lifetime of stifling debt upon graduation. Our nation must regain its place as a global contributor and partner while closing the crippling divides that separate rural and urban residents, communities and economies. And society must welcome and support all people – regardless of race, social class, disability, gender, sexual orientation or nation of origin. 

The road ahead will be hard. But a better future is possible if we act as a united nation and remember that Tuesday’s election was decided not by political parties, but by more than 140 million voters participating in a free and democratic election. 

Before us lies a future of possibility and hope. 

Oregon State University will be pivotal in this future. To achieve it, we must build alliances. Our faculty, staff, students, stakeholders and alumni can – and must – collaborate across all points of view and recognize that as Oregon’s land grant university, the challenges ahead are OSU’s challenges and responsibilities. 

I am optimistic that our nation’s leaders will move to address important issues, such as investing in educational opportunity; assuring support for DACA students and their families; and removing recent visa restrictions on international students. I see opportunity to reauthorize the federal Higher Education Act that expired in 2013 and is essential for millions of students and families needing federal direct student aid. I foresee a needed resurgence of federal funding for science, the higher education research enterprise, innovation. 

All Presidential election outcomes are significant. This November, America not only is projected to have selected Joe Biden as its 46th President, but Kamala Harris as the nation’s first female and first Black and South Asian vice president. 

I urge all of us to come together and reconcile the differences that have divided America – and the world. Let us respect each other, debate with civility, collaborate to navigate the challenges we face and achieve a better future for all. As members of the Oregon State University community, let us focus on moving forward and ensuring that all members of the next generation have better economic, societal and educational opportunities – no matter what zip code or community they are from. 


F. King Alexander